Awake

"Bad"

Awake Review


Surprising, really, that "anesthetic awareness" -- helpless, immobile and, it should be noted, very rare consciousness during surgery -- hasn't been explored in a thriller before. Or maybe it has and I don't remember; that would explain why Awake sounds so novel but feels so familiar. In Joby Harold's film, young millionaire Clay Beresford (Hayden Christensen) is undergoing a risky heart transplant operation when he realizes the anesthetic isn't working as it should -- he is completely and silently paralyzed, but continues to hear and feel everything around him. If the movie wanted to top itself, it could find a way for Christensen to transfer immediately from anesthetic awareness into catalepsy, and maybe knock off Poe's "Premature Burial." Unfortunately and despite its killer gimmick, Awake isn't consumed with that kind of B-movie zeal.

Clay, like so many men before him, tries to block out the pain by intense concentration on thoughts of Jessica Alba (playing his girlfriend Sam -- though oddly enough, Clay's strongest memories reveal nothing more explicit than Alba's demurely exposed back). His focus breaks down when he overhears some, shall we say, less than reassuring words from his doctors, and from there a trapped Clay races against time, desperately attempting to alert Sam and/or his possessive mother (Lena Olin) of the danger he's in.

You might wonder how a silent, immobilized man can accomplish this, and Awake will keep you wondering. The gimmick is a hook that doesn't sink in; first-time writer-director Harold hasn't figured out a clever way to integrate anesthetic awareness into a thriller plot. We see Christensen walking through his memories, and sort of mentally projecting himself into the world he overhears, but this doesn't translate into anything but a mix of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind lite and the out-of-body crime-solving in the equally undistinguished thriller The Invisible.

Instead of displaying any kind of metaphysical creativity, the screenplay falls back on a series of stock thriller twists, which I will not reveal here -- not so much out of respect for those who may see the movie, but rather because they're as boring to write about as they are to watch (and in at least one case, nearly irrelevant to the story at hand). In fact, one of the biggest has more to do with star politics than characters or their actions; Clay's mother is at least as prominent a character as the pretty faces on the poster. Those expecting a sexy thriller starring Anakin Skywalker and the Invisible Girl may be surprised by the bizarre bait-and-switch that leaves them watching a Lifetime melodrama starring Lena Olin.

Nothing against Olin (though if any member of the cast should be stealing scenes from younger costars, it's Terrence Howard); Harold just doesn't seem particularly interested in the strengths or weaknesses of his cast -- Christensen plays another brooding young man of power, and the lack of depth in his relationship with Alba has ample anti-payoff in several muted, uninvolving climactic scenes. Even the use of the stars as visual ornaments peaks early, when an extended, creepy shot of Christensen submerged in a bathtub appears in the first 10 minutes. Nothing so arresting happens for the rest of the film; it's an exercise in dramatic paralysis.

Where can I get fitted for one of those Darth Vader helmets?



Awake

Facts and Figures

Run time: 84 mins

In Theaters: Friday 30th November 2007

Box Office USA: $14.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $14.4M

Budget: $86M

Distributed by: MGM

Production compaines: GreeneStreet Films, The Weinstein Company, Open City Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 23%
Fresh: 14 Rotten: 47

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Joby Harold

Producer: , Joana Vincente

Starring: as Clay Beresford, as Sam Lockwood, as Dr. Jack Harper, as Lilith Beresford, Charlie Hewson as Brian the Orderly

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.